Wednesday, February 28, 2018
President Trump wants to arm teachers to prevent, or reduce the carnage from, future school shootings like the one at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., this month. "A teacher would have shot the hell out of him before he knew what had happened," Trump said last week about the attacker in Florida. He's not the only one who thinks this is a good idea: Several states are already considering legislation to allow guns to be carried into schools, ostensibly to protect kids. But putting guns into the hands of schoolteachers would be extraordinarily dangerous for black and Latino students, who are already often forced to try to learn in hostile environments where they're treated as threats.
How long would it be, if Trump's plan became reality, before a teacher shoots a black student and then invokes the "I feared for my life" defense we continually hear from police officers who misinterpret young black people's behavior with deadly consequences?
A mountain of data on persistent racial biases and disparities in education and on police presence in schools -- as well as a recent increase in racial harassment in schools -- makes it clear that kids of color won't be safe if their teachers are carrying weapons.
Those children are the ones who always feel the brunt of policing inside and outside of schools. Most high-profile mass shootings have been committed by white men, but metal detectors, school police and armed guards are disproportionately placed in public schools with majority black and other nonwhite students, along with locked gates, random sweeps, and a host of other surveillance and security measures to maintain control in their schools. Research shows that such practices foster hostile environments that have contributed to racial disparities in school suspensions, expulsions and arrests leading to the "school-to-prison pipeline," by pushing more students of color out of school and into the juvenile justice system.
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